James Fallows, in a series of interesting blog posts
, questions the typical English pronunciation of China's capital city arguing that "the "jing" in Beijing is pronounced basically like the "jing" in Jingle Bells. It's essentially the normal English j- sound. What it's not like is the Frenchified zh- sound you hear in "azure" or "leisure," or at the end of "sabotage.""
One reader suggests, "My working theory about "Beijing/bay-zhing" is that at some deep, unconscious level, English speakers secretly believe that all foreign languages are French and should be pronounced as such in the absence of instructions to the contrary."
Another reader argues, "Major cities and countries have historically had different names in different languages, and these names serve a good purpose by being easy to pronounce and identify in the languages where they are used. There is really no more reason to say "Beijing" in English than "München" or "Moskva."" [more inside]
posted by beisny
on Aug 13, 2012 -
is a unique online speaking dictionary that offers clear pronunciations of English words
, slang terms
, technical terms
, brand names
, proper names
, and many foreign words
, including common variations
. Astoundingly, the sound files are not computer-generated
-- every single one of the site's 138,152 entries
are enunciated in the dignified tones of British academic and polyglot Tim Bowyer
, who has steadily expanded its glossary
over the years using logs of unsuccessful searches and direct user suggestions. The site is part of Bowyer's Fonetiks.org family of language sites
, and is also available as a browser extension
and as a mobile app for iPhone/iPod
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 23, 2010 -
It’s not what you say, it's the way you say it--Part 2.
This observation was cleverly illustrated by Prof. Howard L. Chace in Anguish Languish
, an exercise to demonstrate to his French Language students that intonation is key to understanding spoken language. Here
is the complete text. You can read
his best known Furry Tell about a Wicket Woof and a Ladle Gull or hear
it read.(Warning-has sound.)
I first found out about Howard Chace from an article
in The Whole Earth Catalog and certain phrases have rattled around my head ever since. Here
is a discussion of Anguish Languish if you want to write your own. Like this version
of Gender Cyst
from the Homely Babble
posted by lobakgo
on Sep 22, 2003 -
Home of Central Command and Al Jazzera television, it's a small oil-rich country we've all heard of, and that's the problem: I hear Qatar called Cutter, Gutter, Katar, and Kwatar.
How do the Qataris' pronounce it; is it possible to accurately pronounce foreign words in English? Who decides? More inside...
posted by Mack Twain
on Mar 29, 2003 -